I started this blog post, last night, around 1:15 AM:
So I’m going on a great trip, starting at 9:30 PM tonight, with my wonderful 15-year-old son.
Things are going well at work.
I’ve been enjoying writing this blog.
I feel like I’m learning a lot, every day.
I’ve prepared enough for this trip, definitely.
So what’s the problem?
Why am I anxious, fearful, wanting to hide, and irritated? Why am I focusing on worst case scenarios? Why am I feeling overwhelmed by decisions I need to make about packing and so on, when I know there is no right or wrong decision, and it’s all solvable?
It doesn’t make sense.
Although I usually believe that everything makes sense, on some level.
And, as I’ve heard lots of people say, in similar situations, “I don’t like when I’m feeling this way. I SHOULDN’T be feeling this way. I should be happy.”
Well, maybe I could try this: just be with the feelings.
Be pissed off and irritated, for no reason.
Be anxious and fretful, for no reason.
Instead of trying to overcome those uncomfortable feelings with positive re-thinking, maybe I could just be irrationally and unreasonably cranky, right now.
Okay, I’ll give myself an assignment: to have all those feelings I feel uncomfortable with right now:
Then, I put my laptop aside, and was able to fall asleep. (Yay!)
Then, about an hour later, I woke up and text-messaged (!) my bf, who was downstairs:
I didn’t know if he would see the message, but I guess he did, because he came upstairs and we had an amazing talk about topics including childhood experiences, guilt, depression, and people we knew who had tried to commit suicide (and one who had succeeded). That might sound like an awful conversation to have at that particular time, when my hope was to fall back asleep and feel refreshed and ready for the rest of my trip preparations. But the conversation also included another topic. Love. So it was awe-ful, in a different way.
After the conversation, I cried. Hard.
It all helped. And I fell back asleep.
Now it’s morning. And there are several things I have to do, including bringing my car into my mechanic for some unexpected, major work.
So what is it that I would like to write this morning, before I end this blog post?
I am afraid of flying.
Actually, as an old friend pointed out to me a long time ago, regarding my fear of heights: “Ann, you’re not afraid of heights. You’re afraid of dying.”
He was right.
Every time I’m going to fly, my busy human mind goes lots of places (as human minds do). And my mind goes to the possibility that the plane will crash. Which affects my mood. Which increases my anxiety.
And which makes me feel like I need to get everything done, now, because what if I’m gone, tomorrow?
While living each day like it could be your last (something I’m pretty good at, with good reason) has an up side, for sure…
Like most things, it has a down side, too.
Before I close, I wanted to introduce you to a stranger I met yesterday.
I was walking around Harvard Square, in Cambridge, getting some foreign currency, playing with my travel anxieties by “rehearsing” various travel-y things, and pretending that I’d never been to Harvard Square before, when I walked by this guy:
I was distracted by lots of things, so it took me a moment to take that in. When I did, I stopped, took out a dollar, and came back. I told this guy, “I used to be in advertising, and that’s the best ad I’ve seen in MONTHS.” Then, we had a great little conversation, where I ended up telling him that I was nervous about flying. He said, “Oh! I understand! But you know what? Flying is the safest mode of travel.” And he told me that he knew what he was talking about, because he used to work for Delta Airlines.
And as we were having our conversation, several more people stopped, said something appreciative to him, and put money in his cup.
He also told me that he had several other signs he used. He recited them all, with pride. I asked, “Which one does the best for you?” And he gave me the answer I expected, “This one.”
Then, before I bid this gentleman adieu, I took his picture, told him I’d like to put him in my blog, and asked him his name.
“Caspar,” he said. “Like the friendly ghost.”
I like thinking that ghosts are friendly.
Thanks to Caspar, friendly creatures everywhere, and — of course! — you, for reading today. Here’s hoping I’ll be continuing this blog, daily, on my travels with my son.